J.R. Smith declined his player option for next season, one that would have paid him just under $6.4 million to remain with the Cavaliers.
Smith, you’ll recall, was awful in the Finals when LeBron James needed someone, anyone, to step up and hit open shots. He was 24-of-77 from the field in six games against the Warriors, and was one flagrant foul away from a suspension, which would have been even more devastating to his team’s chances in the series.
Despite all of that, the Cavaliers are open to bringing him back — if the price is right.
J.R. Smith did not inform the Cleveland Cavaliers he planned on opting into his $6.4 million contract for next season by Thursday’s 11:59 p.m. ET deadline and thus will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 by default, according to Cavs general manager David Griffin.
“If it’s the right situation for us, yeah,” Griffin said late Thursday night when asked if the Cavs are interested in re-signing Smith. “We certainly intend to pursue those conversations.”
Smith is a bit of a wild card, obviously, but seemed to fit in with the Cavaliers during the regular season. He’s reportedly seeking an increase over his previous salary, and wants the security that a multi-year deal can provide.
The question in Cleveland will become whether or not the team can go out and get more consistent shooting in free agency, at a more palatable price. If the Cavaliers can’t find any options that are more appealing, it’s possible they go with the devil they know by attempting to bring back Smith on a reasonable deal for next season.